Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl
Paige Rawl is HIV positive, but other than that she is a normal middle school girl — a happy-go-lucky A-student with a healthy circle of friends. However, everything starts to change when she confesses her secret to her best friend. Suddenly, the whole school seems to know, and they won’t let Paige forget it. Soon, her so-called friends turn their backs and shout “PAIDS” when she passes by, regardless of the fact that she has HIV, not AIDS. With the relentless bullying from her classmates and the silence she faces from adults at school, Paige finds herself desperately swallowing sleeping pills in an attempt to escape from her life. In this heart wrenching, inspiring memoir, Paige recounts her story of how she hit rock bottom — and still managed to find hope even in the darkest situations.’
Paige narrates with a clear straightforward voice that doesn’t sugarcoat the bullying she endures but also doesn’t ask for pity. It’s eye-opening to read how the smallest comment can push a person over the edge. Even those who have not been bullied before can find solace in POSITIVE and relate to the themes of adolescence — the search for an identity, friendship turbulence and entering the adult world. POSITIVE also breaks down the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS.
POSITIVE is the type of book that compels readers to do something. It ignites a compassion-fueled, indignant spark to reach out to those who are hurting. Paige’s life has deeply touched my own, and she has become one of my real-life inspirations in the way that she lets go of the past and makes a difference by sharing her story.
Reviewed by Cassandra H., Teen Board Member
First Published @ Teenreads.com